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Israel's risky but crucial tunnel clearance against Hezbollah



O On Tuesday, Israel announced the start of Operation Northern Shield. Their goal is the destruction of the Lebanese Hezbollah tunnels from Lebanon to Israel.

What does that mean?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is playing his part in his decision to carry out the operation due to his legal and political difficulties. Israeli police this week recommended that Netanyahu be charged with new corruption offenses. This follows other recommendations earlier this year. Netanyahu's government now also relies on Hawaiian coalition partners such as Naftali Bennett, who want to crack down on Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran.

But also for security reasons, this operation is necessary, justified and overdue. Lebanese Hezbollah has completely violated its obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1

701, which ended the Israeli-Lebanese war in 2006, but forced Hezbollah to remove its weapons from southern Lebanon. The opposite happened. Thanks to Iran, Hezbollah is well prepared again.

Hezbollah tunnel operations to Israel are for a simple purpose: facilitating Hezbollah killing of Israeli civilians. This is not a controversial point. This is demonstrated by Hizbullah's past behavior, its strategic interests in northern Israel, and the basic tactical fact that these tunnels do not allow for effective operations against the Israeli military. Hezbollah knows that the Israeli military will locate and destroy its emerging forces as soon as a tunnel operation is carried out in Israel. The only obvious goal of Hezbollah can therefore be to maximize the shed Israeli civilian blood.

That is a justification for Operation Northern Shield. However, it is also true that Israel, if it is really effective to destroy the majority of Hezbollah tunnels, must force the Israeli forces to enter southern Lebanon. As my two commented images (from Google Maps) show below, the Lebanese side of the border is heavily populated. This offers many buildings that Hezbollah can use as a starting point for the tunnel. The extent of the Israeli task is likely to be significant here.

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While the Israeli military was able to launch operations from tunnels through Israeli access points The risks of invading Lebanon so far through deep tunnels are in many cases too great. It is also possible that Israel only knows the sources of the Lebanon tunnel, not their Israeli endpoints. While the Israeli Air Force can manage some tunnels on Lebanese soil, some ground attacks are also needed to allow the Pioneers to destroy tunnels at their source. In addition to the risks to Israeli personnel, these operations also risk reprisals by Hezbollah through rocket attacks and tunneling into Israeli territory. While Israel has effectively reduced Hezbollah's ability to carry out long-lasting high-yield strike strikes, Hezbollah has a large stock of smaller but still effective rockets. Another risk is that Hezbollah is now launching preventive tunneling or rocket attacks to exploit its tunnels before Israel can destroy them.

In short, Israel has no choice but to do what it does now. However, the escalation risks are high. Function (f, b, e, v, n, t, s) {if (f.fbq) return; ?
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